New Filtering System for DNA Matches

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We’re excited to announce the release of a new feature — a brand new filtering system for DNA Matches — which will be very helpful for our users.

DNA Matches are people who share DNA segments with you. Each DNA Match is thought to be related to you, with one or more shared segments inherited from one or more common ancestors. By now, the DNA database on MyHeritage has grown so large, that most users on MyHeritage have thousands of DNA Matches. Managing all those DNA Matches, and making sense of them has become a challenge — and this is exactly where the new filtering system comes in!

Filtering lets you view a subset of your DNA Matches at a time, focusing on those that match particular criteria, of more interest to you. We’ve added a beautiful user interface to the DNA Overview page that lets you filter your DNA Matches easily by relationship, by country or by ethnicity. And we’ve added a powerful filter toolbar that lets you do all that, and much more. Using the new filter toolbar, you can combine multiple filters, and filter matches by additional criteria such as those that have a family tree, have shared ancestral surnames with you or have Smart Matches™ with you.

Filtering of DNA Matches can be combined with sorting and searching. For example, you can easily find all your DNA Matches that include “Gordon” in the name of the match or as an ancestral surname, filtering them to view only those who have a particular ethnicity and live in a particular country, while sorting them alphabetically or by the amount of shared DNA.

Anyone who has taken a MyHeritage DNA test or has uploaded DNA data from another service can now take advantage of our new filtering system for DNA Matches, and it’s free! (Some advanced features in the DNA Match review page require a subscription, such as viewing the ethnicity results of a DNA Match).

As part of this update, we’ve also made some improvements to the user interface of the DNA Matches in general. For example, we placed ethnicity and DNA Matches on two adjacent tabs to make it very easy to switch from one to the other for any of the DNA kits you manage.  Viewing family trees of your DNA Matches now uses the Pedigree View.

Many users have commented that we have the best user interface for DNA Matches, and now we’ve made it even better.

Accessing the new filters

We’ve overhauled the DNA Overview page and the new filtering system for DNA Matches takes up most of that page.

To reach the DNA Overview page and access the new graphical filters for DNA Matches, simply click “Overview” in the “DNA” menu:

Accessing the graphical filters (click to zoom)

The DNA Overview page displays a summary of your Ethnicity Estimate, with a link to view the full estimate. Below this is a summary of your DNA Matches, with a graphical breakdown of the matches according to the relationship; country of residence; and their ethnicities. These are new filters, described in further detail below.

DNA Overview tab (click to zoom)

Here is a detailed description of the new filters.

Filtering by relationship

Using the Relationship filter, you can easily see how many of the DNA Matches are close family (immediate family through first cousins), extended family (first cousins once removed through second cousins twice removed), or distant relatives (third cousins and more distant cousins). Some users are more interested in close family matches, while others are intrigued to learn more about distant relatives. You can now easily keep track of the number of matches you have in each category and immediately spot if you have new matches in any category of high interest to you. We will soon add indicators next to the Close family and Extended family sections to indicate whether you have new matches in any of those categories.

Relationship filter (click to zoom)

Hovering over any relationship category will highlight the corresponding ring in purple, in the graphical display.

Clicking on either the category name or the corresponding ring will take you to the DNA Matches page, where the DNA Matches will be automatically filtered to show only matches from the relationship category you chose.

Example: Filtering by relationship to show only Extended family matches (click to zoom)

Filtering by location

This filter shows you how many matches you have from each country of residence around the world. This often reflects your ethnicity breakdown.

Country filter (click to zoom)

Clicking on any country on the map or in the list on the right-hand side will take you to the DNA Matches page, automatically filtered to show only matches residing in the country you chose.

Example: Filtering by country to show only matches residing in Norway (click to zoom)

Note: for consistency, this filter is based on the country of residence of your matches, and not on family tree information such as country of birth. The country of birth may be very useful and it is sometimes different than the current country of residence, but it’s not available for DNA Matches without a family tree. Perhaps we will support a filter using country of birth in the future.

Filtering by ethnicity

The ethnicity filter will show you how many of your matches have each of the 42 ethnicities supported by MyHeritage DNA, where that ethnicity is meaningful and comprises at least 10% of the matching person’s overall ethnicity.

Ethnicity filter (click to zoom)

The ethnicities listed at the top of the filter are your own ethnicities (sorted by percentage) because these are probably the matches you’ll want to investigate first. Some of your DNA Matches will be listed under multiple ethnicities. That’s why the numbers on the right-hand side, will sum up to a total that exceeds the total number of matches you have. This is a good place for identifying which of your reported ethnicities might be incorrect. For example, if MyHeritage estimated that you are 1.2% Italian but you have absolutely no matches who are Italian (by at least 10%), then it’s likely that your estimated Italian ethnicity is a false positive. Remember, that the ethnicity estimate is just that — an estimate — and it may include inaccuracies. Ethnicities for which you have many matches are more likely to play a substantial role in your own ethnicity makeup. Keep in mind though, that the numbers are skewed by the populations of people tested on MyHeritage; some ethnicities are over-represented and some are under-represented. There are so many people who have European ethnicity on MyHeritage that you are bound to have many of them as your matches, even if you have no European ethnicity at all. As another illustrative example, perhaps you are 0% Kenyan, but you still have some matches who have Kenyan ethnicity. How can that be? Because they received some Kenyan ethnicity from their ancestors, and these are not the same ancestors that they share with you, but ancestors on their other lines.

Clicking on any of the ethnicities will take you to the DNA Matches list, automatically filtered to show only matches that have that specific ethnicity (comprising at least 10% of their ethnicity estimate).

Example: Filtering by ethnicity to show only matches with North and West European ethnicity (click to zoom)

If you have a particular ethnicity in your own ethnicity estimate that intrigues you, use this filter to look at your DNA Matches having that ethnicity. Perhaps you will be able to identify how they are related to you, and this way find out which of your ancestors brought you that particular ethnicity.

Using the new Filter toolbar

The new Filter toolbar is part of the DNA Matches page, and it appears automatically if a filter is active. In all the examples shown above, the DNA Matches page was reached when a particular filter was activated from the graphical filters in the DNA Overview page, and it was shown in bold in the Filter toolbar. However, you can also access the Filter toolbar directly.

To do so, visit the DNA Matches page, by clicking “DNA Matches” under the “DNA” menu.

Accessing the DNA Matches page (click to zoom)

In the DNA Matches page, click “Filters”, which is shown next to an icon that looks like a filter, and the Filter toolbar will be displayed below it, as shown below:

Accessing the Filter toolbar (click to zoom)

The Filter toolbar gives you access to the filters described previously (Relationship, Location, Ethnicity), and you can now apply several filters concurrently. If more than one filter is selected, they will be applied inclusively (using AND logic, e.g. filter1 AND filter2 AND filter3). For example, you can filter your DNA Matches to see all the matches who live in the United States AND are Ashkenazi Jewish. As another example, you can view all your Extended family matches, who live in the Netherlands.

Pay close attention to the first entry on the Filter toolbar, which is Tree details. Using the Tree details filter, you can see only those matches that have a family tree, have a shared ancestral surname with you, or Smart Matches™ exist between your trees. This is extremely important for isolating the DNA Matches that could be very valuable for your research. Matches that have shared ancestral surnames with you, are matches that you may be able to figure out more easily how they are related to you, especially if the ancestral surname they share with you is a rare one. For example, if a DNA Match shares the rare surname Kopelevitch with you, and it’s your grandfather’s surname and the maiden name of the grandmother of your match, this could show how the two of you are related: through a common Kopelevitch ancestor.

Tree details filter in the Filter toolbar (click to zoom)

Below is an example of applying a filter for shared ancestral surnames, which found a match sharing the surname “Gordon”:

Filtering by shared ancestral surnames (click to zoom)

In the Relationships filter on the Filter toolbar, you can filter your matches by their relationship to you, choosing to see only close family, extended family, or distant relatives.

Relationship filter in the Filter toolbar (click to zoom)

In the Locations filter, you can filter matches by country of residence. In the near future, we’re planning to add the option to filter by U.S. state as well. If you have ancestors from South Dakota, for example, you might find it exciting to see which of your DNA Matches also have ancestors from South Dakota. And you can combine that with additional filters such as Shared ancestral surnames, to zoom in on DNA Matches of high interest.

Location filter in the Filter toolbar (click to zoom)

Lastly, in the Ethnicities filter, you can filter matches by ethnicity, choosing to see only those matches who have at least 10% of a particular ethnicity in their Ethnicity Estimate.

Ethnicity filter in the Filter toolbar (click to zoom)

As previously explained, you can apply more than one filter simultaneously. For example, filtering by “Extended family” and “Irish, Scottish, and Welsh” ethnicity will show you which of your DNA Matches satisfy both of these conditions. I.e. which of your matches are likely to be first cousins once removed through second cousins twice removed, and who have 10% or more of Irish, Scottish, or Welsh ethnicity.

Applying multiple filters at once (click to zoom)

Sorting matches

DNA Matches can be sorted by clicking “Sort by” and selecting one of the options from the drop-down menu; Shared DNA, Shared segments, Largest segment, Full name, or Most recent.

By default, matches are shorted by Shared DNA, which means that the matches which whom you have more shared DNA are listed first. The sorting capability is not new, but it’s great that you can also apply sorting on matches that have been filtered.


Searching matches

You can also search for a match by name or by ancestral surname using the search field. Click the magnifying glass icon to start a search.

When searching for a name, matches with that name or having that ancestral surname will be displayed.

You can combine searching with filtering. You can search among the matches you’ve previously filtered. Or you can run a search, and then filter the search results.

In the advanced example below, the location filter, the ethnicity filter, and the search bar have all been used concurrently. Results are displayed for DNA Matches who are located in the U.S., have Scandinavian ethnicity, and have “Johnson” in their name, or as an ancestral surname. High power at your fingertips!

Search + filter (click to zoom)

To clear an active filter, click “Clear filters”. To clear an active search, click “Clear search”.

Improved user interface

We have improved the user interface of the DNA Matching pages, making DNA results more intuitive and easier to navigate. These pages are organized now into three different tabs — an Overview tab, an Ethnicity Estimate tab, and a DNA Matches tab.

The name of the person whose results you are currently viewing is listed at the top. As you move back and forth between the different tabs, you’ll always see results of the same person, whether it’s an overview, an Ethnicity Estimate or DNA Matches.

If you manage more than one kit, you can change the person whose results you are viewing by clicking on “Select another person” and selecting another individual from the drop-down menu. This replaces the previous display we had, that utilized different “cards” for each DNA kit that you managed. The previous display didn’t scale well for more than three kits and didn’t allow switching easily between DNA Matches and the Ethnicity Estimate for the same kit. If you liked the previous “cards” display, we hope you will familiarize yourself quickly with the “Select another person” approach and prefer it.

Using “Select another person” to view the results of another DNA kit (click to zoom)

Overview tab

At the top of the Overview tab, you will see the top ethnicities in the ethnicity estimate. If there are more than three ethnicities in the Ethnicity Estimate, not all of them will appear here.

Click on “View full estimate” to get to the Ethnicity Estimate tab, where you will see a complete list of your ethnicities with percentages.

Switching to the Ethnicity Estimate tab (click to zoom)

Below the top ethnicities, the Overview page lists a summary of the DNA Matches, with the three graphical filters already described above.

To view the full list of all your DNA Matches (unfiltered), click on “View DNA Matches” and you will be taken to the DNA Matches tab.

Switching to the DNA Matches tab (click to zoom)

Ethnicity Estimate tab

In the second tab, you’ll find full Ethnicity Estimate results. There are no changes here.

Ethnicity Estimate tab (click to zoom)

Some of our users are unaware of a nice feature available here so we will take a moment to mention it. Enabling the checkbox “Show events from your family tree” will display all of the ancestral birth and death locations listed in your family tree on the map on top of the ethnicity results. You can then compare how your Ethnicity Estimate correlates with events from your family tree. This additional view helps to place your Ethnicity Estimate within the context of your family history and can provide you with a good starting point for further investigation.

Ethnicity estimate with overlaid family history context (click to zoom)

DNA Matches tab

The third tab takes you to the DNA Matches page where we’ve added the improved interface for filtering DNA Matches, that can be combined with sorting and searching as described above.

DNA Matches tab (click to zoom)

Viewing trees of DNA Matches
Another enhancement we’ve implemented in the DNA Matches page is that selecting “View tree” for any DNA Match, will automatically open their family tree in the new Pedigree View.

Accessing trees of DNA Matches (click to zoom)

The Pedigree View, which was released recently, receiving rave reviews from our users, shows a root person and his/her direct ancestors. It doesn’t display siblings or spouses and doesn’t require difficult panning. It also shows women with their maiden names only.

Viewing a family tree of a DNA Match in Pedigree View (click to zoom)

Summary

Having a lot of DNA Matches is great, but it can be overwhelming. Many people don’t know how to review their matches and where to start. This reminds me of an expression my father taught me, one that he liked, in French: “Embarras de richesses”. It means the embarrassment of riches, i.e. the confusing abundance of options that comes from wealth.

The new filtering system for DNA Matches comes to your aid, by letting you review your DNA Matches in smaller bites, focusing on areas of particular interest to you. Be it the matches who are more closely related to you, or the matches who live in a particular country of interest to your genealogy; or a particular ethnicity. You can easily search your DNA Matches and you can sort them, and you can easily combine filtering, searching and sorting. The new DNA Overview page and the new Filter toolbar make all this possible.

This is a big improvement in the handling of DNA Matches, and it makes them a pleasure to use, alongside the high accuracy of the matches themselves, and powerful tools such as our one-to-many and one-to-one Chromosome Browsers. This intuitive and easy-to-use interface equips you with the tools you need to sift your list of DNA Matches for gold, and to quickly focus on those matches that will lead the way to your next exciting, mind-blowing and possibly life-changing, discovery in your family history research.

We have been rolling out this new feature gradually. It is currently only available to users visiting MyHeritage on a desktop or via phone, but it is not yet on the MyHeritage mobile app. We plan to release it on the mobile app very soon.

If you’ve been sitting on the fence and have not embraced the fascinating world of DNA testing yet, we invite you to enjoy the innovative genetic genealogy features on MyHeritage; Order a MyHeritage DNA kit today or upload your DNA data from another company for free, and start a new chapter in your genealogy journey.

We hope you’ll love our new features. Keep telling us what you need, and we’ll keep listening and adding what you request. Enjoy!

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  • Carl Firmin


    June 28, 2018

    Nice update, thanks.
    A useful addition that should be easy to do, is on the “Locations” feature you could show whether each country is over- or underweight for your matches relative to the overall MyHeritage database.
    Having a predominance of USA matches is to be expected for many, but if I saw I’m very overweight, say, The Netherlands and no of no link there I would want to explore why.
    cheers
    Carl

  • Reynaldo Cabrera


    June 29, 2018

    Agree, it’s the best.

  • Scherry Poore


    June 29, 2018

    Thank you so very much for all of the new and exciting options for us to use and “play” with. This will certainly further our ability to research our heritage.

  • Kathy, The Down East Genealogist


    June 29, 2018

    The filtering by relationship needs at least one more level between “Extended Family” and “Distant Relatives.” I have exactly 4 “Extended Family” matches, compared to 6,541 “distant relatives”. Third and fourth cousins represent the bulk of my useful matches (i.e., enough shared DNA to be likely to be true matches), but they are dwarfed by the huge number of matches at fifth cousin and beyond, which is what I would consider “distant” cousins. I want to be able to easily filter out those low-confidence matches, say with less than 20 cM shared DNA (that is the AncestryDNA cutoff for “distant” cousins) and/or some other criteria of largest segment/number of segments. The exact cutoff doesn’t matter so much, as long as it roughly corresponds to the 4th cousin/5th cousin “boundary”.

    • Esther


      July 1, 2018

      Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for the feedback. We’ll escalate your suggestion.

      Thanks,
      Esther

  • Tim


    June 29, 2018

    I’d like to see an option to filter for triangulated matches — that would save me hours of time.

    • Esther


      July 1, 2018

      Thanks for the suggestion, Tim!

      Best, Esther

  • Valerie


    July 1, 2018

    How do I subscribe to this blog please ?

    • Esther


      July 18, 2018

      Hi Valerie,

      You can use a service such as https://blogtrottr.com/ to receive updates whenever a new post is up.

      Best, Esther /MyHeritage Team

  • Sandra Chester


    July 1, 2018

    I was not a great supporter of MyHeritage and was not too pleased when the company acquired Legacy Family Tree software that I use and I had uploaded my DNA to the site. However, since that time, my opinion has totally changed. With the introduction of the Chromosome browser and now with the triangulation feature and filters it is fast becoming my go to genealogy site! I did purchase a subscription when it was offered at a good price to Legacy users and I am now forever thankful that I did. One further tool could be as suggested by another commenter which is a further breakdown on the relationship filter to differentiate between 3-4th cousins and those much further removed. However, that said, keep up the good work! It is really appreciated.!

    • Esther


      July 10, 2018

      Hi Sandra,

      We’re so glad to hear that MyHeritage is becoming your go-to site! Thanks for the suggestion and feedback.

      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • caith culbertson


    July 2, 2018

    Wow! This will give AncestryDNA a run for their money, with their mickey mouse navigational tools and features.

    MyHeritage is stepping up to the plate like a professional company making the customer happy. They deserve the best in the future.

  • caith


    July 2, 2018

    I would like to see an alert to any messages we receive from our matches; or have I just missed it?
    Thank you. Good Job!!

  • David


    July 15, 2018

    Nice update. Still waiting on X-DNA matching

  • Jacob Psutka


    July 15, 2018

    I just want to agree with some of the other comments that another delineation field needs to exist solely for third and fourth cousins. Mixing them up with fifth and beyond cousins serves to muddy up those waters.
    Otherwise, the filters are excellent and should help in isolating better potential matches.

  • Lindsay Williams


    July 15, 2018

    Wow, hard to take in the many improvements you guys have made recently. Far away the best site where we can see really useful additions. As an ex programmer, please pat yours on the back as the complexities must now be enormous.
    All the best.

  • Elizabeth Hagenbuch


    July 15, 2018

    I am hoping MyHeritage will be adding an X Chromosome browser soon! This would be very helpful to me and I’m sure to many other users!

  • Barbara Paynton


    July 16, 2018

    Any particular reason I can’t access the new DNA filters?
    I still have the old interface, what do I need to do to get this update?

    • Esther


      July 16, 2018

      Hi Barbara,

      Are you viewing your matches on the MyHeritage mobile app? This feature is not yet available on the mobile app, but we hope to have it available there soon.

      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Stuart Lancaster


    July 16, 2018

    Hi, just gone on my emails, & just seen this wonderful news! a relation in the USA was saying something about it. What an improvement.

  • Yolanta


    July 16, 2018

    These features sound wonderful, so I hope that MyHeritage will please reconsider making DNA testing and results available in Poland. I uploaded my data when I was in Canada, but now am completely blocked from viewing any results.

  • Dennis Johnson


    July 17, 2018

    Love it!

  • Don


    July 17, 2018

    Great work! This is by far the best interface of any the genealogy sites (both free and commercial).
    The “triangulated matches” feature is fantastic.

  • Cynthia McClelland


    July 17, 2018

    Thank you! It will take me a while to make good use of these improvements, but I will get there! I would like to encourage people to provide a little more information — I am hesitant to contact people who have provided no family tree or family name information, in addition to having names I do not recognize from the 15,000 in my family tree

  • Jeanne Wright


    July 18, 2018

    I am excited to find out if my brothers are full or half.